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We are on the ground floor of 104 George Street, The Rocks, located in the building which was the historic Coroner's Court, up from Cadman's cottage and down from the corners of Hickson Road and Playfair Street.
Look for the red phone box!
The Society of Arts and Crafts of NSW (trading as Craft NSW)
104 George Street, The Rocks, 2000
P + 61 02 9241 5825
F + 61 02 9252 6255
open seven days, entrance is free
9.30 to 5.30 (5pm in the winter months)
the Old Coroners Court - 104 George Street
Built in 1854 originally as a Dead House or Morgue, this site which steeply slopes to the harbour, provides the only remaining evidence of how early colonials dealt with unexplained or sudden deaths. When the Dead House was demolished in 1906, a new Morgue was constructed on the lower slope, followed in 1907 by the present Coroner's Court at George Street level.
Before this court was built inquests were held in a courtroom at Hyde Park Barracks, or at the Observer Hotel immediately opposite.
As a representative example of the public architecture of Walter Liberty Vernon the present building is the earliest surviving Coroner's Court in NSW. As an example of the Federation Free style, its unassuming design evokes the aesthetic of William Morris and the arts and crafts movement. It shows the architect's concern and ability to design for function and Sydney's weather. The exterior has an open, approachable appearance compared to the authoritarian designs for earlier public buildings, while the interior retains the authority of the Coroner's position.
The building is made up of two structures: a section containing the central courtroom, male and female witness rooms, an internal enclosed verandah and a street front arcade. A second two-storey section contained offices and a residence with attic bed rooms. The Court and Morgue underwent alterations and additions in the period to 1971. In 1972 the Morgue was demolished to make way for a car park and the court building converted to exhibition space and offices when the original courtroom fittings and furnishings were removed.
The Court building as originally constructed remains essentially unchanged. The roof structure with its slate cladding, lead ridge capping, copper valleys and terracotta chimney pots is intact, as is the exterior brick and stonework.
The early joinery including windows, sills, solid doors and door jambs, architraves, staircases and panelling remain. The original ceramic tiling and dado capping and the ripple iron ceilings are intact as are the subsurface remains of the previous morgue building.
From SHFA Heritage Register
Download Coroner's Court flyer - PDF document, 1.2MB